A diet rich in omega-3s reduces the risk of death after a heart attack


Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of death after a heart attack

Regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids from animal and plant foods strengthens the heart membranes and thus helps reduce the risk of death in people suffering from heart attack. This is proven by a recent Spanish nutritional study.

Researchers from the German Trias i Pujol Hospital and Research Institute (IGTP) and the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) in Barcelona have shown in a recent study that a diet rich in omega-3s helps you survive a heart attack . According to the findings, fatty acids reduce the risk of death and the risk of being hospitalized again for heart attack. The findings were recently presented in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Omega-3 reduced the risk of complications in heart attacks

The team analyzed data from 950 patients who were treated in the hospital for a heart attack. The omega-3 content in the blood of all participants was measured. The measurement makes it possible to determine very precisely how many fatty acids the affected person consumed in the weeks before the heart attack. It has already been shown here that a high percentage of omega-3s in the blood reduces the risk of complications. After discharge from the hospital, the subjects were monitored for a period of three years.

Different omega-3 fats

There are two large groups of omega-3 fatty acids: the so-called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is a type of omega-3 fatty acid found mainly in oily fish. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is also one of the omega-3 fatty acids and comes from plant foods such as nuts and soy.

Animal and plant omega-3s complement each other

The researchers point out that the two types of omega-3 fatty acids sometimes perform different tasks and complement each other. For example, EPA is embedded in the membranes of heart muscle cells. This enrichment reduces the damage caused by a heart attack.

Conversely, the effects of ALA are much less studied. The current study shows that the two types of fatty acids don’t work exactly the same, but appear to complement each other. For example, a high EPA content was associated with a lower risk of being readmitted to the hospital for a cardiovascular cause. A higher concentration of ALA, on the other hand, was more strongly associated with a generally lower risk of death.

Improve the prognosis of a heart attack by eating correctly

“The inclusion of marine and vegetable omega-3 fatty acids in the diet of patients at risk of cardiovascular disease is an integrative strategy to improve both their quality of life and their prognosis in the event of a heart attack”, summarizes research director Antoni Bayés. The study also highlights the complementary but not competing effects of the two types of omega-3 fatty acids. (vb)

Information on the author and source

This text conforms to the requirements of the specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by medical professionals.


Diploma-Editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques: a study has shown that foods rich in omega-3 improve the prognosis after heart attack (veröffentlicht: 27.10.2020), imim.cat
  • Iolanda Lázaro, Ferran Rueda, Germán Cediel, ua: Circulating omega-3 fatty acids and incident adverse events in patients with acute myocardial infarction; in: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2020, onlinejacc.org

Important note:
This article is a general guide only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.


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